In other matches, Mexico shrugged off two contentious off-side calls in the first half to beat Cameroon 1-0 in Group A at Natal while Chile scored an impressive 3-1 win over Australia in another Group B contest at Cuiaba. (JPN/Agencies)
Even as the footballers were busy setting the tone for what is promising to be a cracker of a tournament, some sheen was lost when for the second day in a row referees hit the headlines for controversial calls.
For the second time in two days, a controversial penalty was awarded with current World champions Spain benefitting from it while a couple of offside calls also seemed too harsh and this time Mexico being was the side at the wrong end of the stick.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli ruled that Diego Costa had been fouled by Stefan De Vrij and Xabi Alonso had no problem in slotting the shot past Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
The replays, however, made it quite clear that there was very little contact between Costa and de Vrij.
A stunning header from Manchester United forward Van Persie, 90 seconds before the break, on a pass by Daley Blind brought the sides on level terms and what followed in the second half was complete Dutch domination.
In a rain-soaked Group A match at Natal, a tenacious Mexico rode on Oribe Peralta's solitary second half strike to take a 1-0 win over Cameroon.
The first half was barren despite the ball finding the back of the net thrice with Mexico forward Giovani dos Santos being the victim of two debatable off-side calls by assistant referees.
However, persistence paid and Peralta's 61st minute strike helped Mexico beat an African side in World Cup finals for the first time.
In another Group B contest, Chile beat Australia 3-1 in Cuiaba to join Netherlands on top of the table. Chile's impressive win was set up by early strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia.
Tim Cahill pulled one back for the Socceroos but the South Americans kept a tight grip over the contest.
Jean Beausejour's injury-time goal sealed the victory for Chile.
In other matches, Mexico shrugged off two contentious off-side calls in the first half to beat Cameroon 1-0 in Group A at Natal while Chile scored an impressive 3-1 win over Australia in another Group B contest at Cuiaba.